Exercising and providing proper body movements can result in a life of greater stamina, purpose, and cognitive clarity. When it comes to exercise, quantity is much more important than quality. A recent study found that five minutes of intense calisthenics improved aerobic fitness and leg strength in college students. Likewise, four seconds of intense bike pedaling repeated a number of times increased strength and endurance despite age or fitness level. And finally, 7,000-8,000 steps a day is what is needed to live longer compared to the common thought of get more than 10,000 steps a day.
The Many Benefits of Exercise
Our bodies compensate for calories expended from exercise by improving efficiency of specific cellular processes. Regular exercise can reduce the chance of premature death by 30%. Physical activity strengthens immune systems that protect against dementia and releases a hormone that enhances neuron health (which allows us to think and be creative).
Exercise Provides Purpose
Similarly, exercise provides purpose. It creates goals and plans that guide direction and meaning in life. And it allows enjoyment of retirement. If exercising and properly taking care of the body while young, the individual can enjoy retirement more with more energy, better health, more time, and more money.
As a practicing physical therapist for over 35 years, the majority of which were spent with adult populations, a key lesson learned is that of the importance of maintaining ones physical health to ensure function and safety as an older adult. There is nothing more frustrating than finishing one’s professional career, now with the time and money, and realizing the inability to accomplish desired daily and recreational activities. Of greater importance is safety. The outcome of a fall on the ice at age 25 and 75 are generally different with the latter potentially life changing. Thus the ability to maintain functional mobility into outlying realms of motion and staying strong in those three dimensional extremes, helps ensure quality of life moving forward from a physical standpoint.
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